Founded in 1088 by an organized guild of students, it is the oldest university in the world. It got papal recognition in 1189, under Pope Clement III.


Founded around 1150, associated with the cathedral school of Notre-Dame de Paris, it is commonly considered the second oldest university in Europe, although this is debated. It was officially chartered in 1200 by King Philip II of France, and recognized in 1215 by Pope Innocent III.


Some sources indicate there is evidence of teaching here as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Also, it would be the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation, after the University of Bologna. It grew quickly from 1167 when English students returned from the University of Paris. By the mid-13th century, members of many religious orders, including Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians, were already settled in Oxford. It was recognized in 1254 by Pope Innocent IV.


Salamanca was founded in 1134 and given the royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218, and papal recognition in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV. It is the oldest university in the Hispanic world and the third oldest university in the entire world still in operation.


Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and, according to some, the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. It was recognized by Pope Juan XXII in 1318.